Does the presence of a bulging fontanel (soft spot) mean that my baby has Meningitis?

Possibly, but...

Meningitis
A bulging fontanel is associated with meningitis. But babies with meningitis have other issues, which may include fevers, poor feeding, lethargy. And bulging fontanel is not only caused by meningitis either. Please see your child's pediatrician if you are concerned.
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Baby Bulging fontanel Children Feeding Fever Lethargy Listlessness Meningitis Pediatrics Poor feeding

Yes

Baby
It could be. A bulging soft spot can indicate increased pressure in the brain, which can happen with meningitis and other serious conditions. But the fontanelle can also bulge with vigorous crying or straining. If other symptoms of meningitis, such as fever, irritability and a rash, appear with the bulging fontanelle, seek immediate medial attention. Meningitis is a very serious condition.
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Fever Bulging fontanel Children's health Crying Irritability Rash Baby Brain Meningitis Soft spot on top of head

No

Baby
A bulging fontanelle will not be the only sign of meningitis. Babies with meningitis usually have fever, are irritable or lethargic, and do not eat normally. We usually check the fontanelle in a sitting position, so just laying flat can make a baby seem to have a bulging fontanelle. Your doctor will also plot the head circumference to make sure the brain and skull are developing normally.
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Fever Meningitis Fussiness Csf culture Head Baby Brain Bulging fontanel Children's health Soft spot on top of head

Yes

Baby
This is a sign of meningitis. It could also be due to hydrocephalus (fluid buildup in the skull). Call your pediatrician right away
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Meningitis Hydrocephalus Csf culture Head Pediatrics Baby Bulging fontanel Children's health Soft spot on top of head Soft spot on head bulging

answered:

No

Baby
No, but it does mean your baby should see a doctor immediately as that can be a sign of pressure build-up in or around the brain and/or spinal cord.
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Bulging fontanel Children's health Baby Brain Meningitis Soft spot on top of head Csf culture Soft spot on head bulging Child health

No

Eating
A bulging fontanel with fever, fussiness, poor feeding, and other signs of being sick can mean meningitis and definitely should be brought to the doctor immediately. However, ear infections, screaming, positioning, and more can lead to a full soft spot. In an otherwise healthy child you can call your doctor's office to see if they want to see your child.
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Fever Meningitis Feeding Bulging fontanel Poor feeding Soft spot on top of head Fussiness Csf culture Ear Children

No

Baby
A baby who is acting sick (won't eat, is vomiting, running a fever, acting very listless) and has a bulging fontanelle should be presumed to have meningitis until proven otherwise. This is a very urgent symptom needing immediate medical attention. Well babies can have bulging fontanelles if they are screaming hard or if they have other medical conditions. If it is always bulging, see a doctor.
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